Colchester: Teenager jailed after admitting causing death of his friend Josh Irvine by dangerous driving
A speeding teenage driver who killed his friend in a horror smash has been sentenced to three years’ jail.
Michael Lock, 19, was told he would serve at least 18 months in a young offenders’ institution after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
The parents of Josh Irvine, who was a passenger in the car and died immediately during the crash, said no sentence would bring back their only child.
Lock, of Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, was driving the pair back to work when the crash happened on November 8, 2012.
He had been driving at an estimated 55mph along Bromley Road, nearly twice the 30mph speed limit, when he lost control of his Citroen Saxo VTR shortly before the junction with Longridge.
The car smashed into an oncoming roadsweeper and was destroyed.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard today how Lock and Josh had been friends since they met at secondary school aged 11 and worked together at Lock’s family business, run by his father.
Lock, who had only passed his driving test one month before the crash after an intensive learning course, admitted the charge during a hearing in May at the court.
He was also left seriously injured by the crash and spent more than six weeks in hospital being treated for multiple fractures, including his jaw, collarbone, eye socket and cheekbone.
Judge John Dodd QC, sentencing, said: “The circumstances are tragic.
“You were seen by a number of people in the moments before the fatal impact and the common perception is that you were travelling far in excess of the limit, and one or two of those were indeed fearful there would be a dreadful incident.
“You chose to drive far too fast in a vehicle which for you was too powerful.
“You have expressed profound remorse and I accept you are a decent hard-working young man. You never intended any harm to befall Josh that fateful day and you have been traumatised at the realisation that for the sake of a few moments of excitement you have destroyed Josh’s life and changed forever the life of his family and friends.
“That is a heavy burden for you to bear and that is punishment itself. I am acutely conscious no sentence I can pass can begin to ease the pain of this on those who have suffered and will continue to.
“I hope this terrible incident will cause other young people, other inexperienced drivers, to act with care in the future.”
Lock was also banned from driving for six years and must pass an extended test before he is allowed back on the road.
A victim impact statement from Josh’s parents Patrick and Tracey Irvine read to the court described their son as “a very special young man, kind, caring, sensitive, generous and thoughtful who touched everyone he met and made a lasting impression”.
Judge Dodd added: “He was plainly a fine young man of whom they were rightly very proud.”
Speaking after the hearing Mr Irvine said: “Even if the judge had passed a 100 year sentence I would not be happy.
“Our lives ended that day. We’re just getting through day by day and today was a long time in coming – 588 days since the crash.
“Someone getting into a ‘hot hatchback’ it is like a bullet in the chamber ready to go off.”
Mrs Irvine added: “We would much rather our son be with us, and to new drivers I would say ‘You are not invincible’.”
The family also praised the support they had received from both the police and Crown Prosecution Service, and Josh’s “phenomenal” friends, many of whom were also in the courtroom.
Det Sgt Damon Bainbridge said: “We hope that Michael Lock uses the opportunity he has now given behind bars to contemplate his actions and learn from his mistake.
“Lock underwent an intensive driving lesson course and after only a matter of days sat and passed his driving test. The young man’s parents then bought him a sporty car at some expense. This was foolish and we urge parents to consider the make, model and power of car they buy their children.
“These newly-qualified drivers should only be behind the wheel of vehicles which they can easily control. They have limited experience of being on the road and are in charge of what is a potentially lethal weapon.”